Who can resist the casual, seductive, ingenious, and multilayered music of Brazil?
A country of continental dimensions where all of Europe could fit within her borders! But size isn’t everything! From the lithesome, musical elegance of the choro to the hypnotic sensuality of the Bossa nova, and a kaleidoscope of subtle rhythms wrapped in sophisticated jazz harmonies, the sound of Brazilian music is unforgettable unmistakable, and best summed up by the Portuguese word “saudade,” which mingles yearning, sadness, and memory.
The leading recorder-player for decades, Michala Petri returns to take us on a new musical journey to Terra do Brazil through the music of Jobim, Nazareth, Gismonti, Villa-Lobos, Hermeto Pascoal and others. Joining her are two exciting musicians in their fields: the young guitarist and composer Daniel Murray and award-winning percussionist/composer Marilyn Mazur. A natural guitar prodigy, Murray has established himself at a young age as both a masterful interpreter of the music of Tom Jobim and as a leading voice in the contemporary Brazilian music scene. Marilyn Mazur has received numerous jazz awards, toured for several years with Miles Davis, and has a vast experience in many musical fields. With her exceptional listening abilities, and inventive use of percussion she colors the music in soundscapes, ranging from subtle shades to high energy, matching the two other instruments perfectly.
Together, Michala, Marilyn and Daniel transport you to the world of Brazil Sensational!
Listen to this album on your Digital Audio Converter, Digital Audio Player, or DSD or DXD capable disc player. Please don’t stream it! You’ll miss the full intimacy of the masterful engineering of Mikkel Nymand and Preben Iwan…)
We invite you to set up a pitcher of caipirinhas, close your eyes, and imagine yourself beneath an amber moon and softly murmur ‘someday soon.’
Michala Petri – Recorder
Marilyn Mazur – Percussion
Daniel Murray – Guitar
Total time: 01:10:49
This recording is made possible by generous support from the Oticon Foundation, Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansens Foundation, Edition Borup-Jørgensen and Dansk Solistforbund
|Original Recording Rate||
|Original Recording Format|
Mikkel Nymand and Preben Iwan
Mikkel Nymand and Preben Iwan
Koncertkirken, Copenhagen on December 16-18, 2016
|Release Date||June 3, 2021|
Gapplegate Music Review
Some music to appreciate fully you have to let breathe inside of you for a space. That is true certainly of Michala Petri, Marilyn Mazur and Daniel Murray’s Brazilian Landscapes. It needs to breathe inside your musical mind because it has a beauty made up of unusual parts that in turn form an unusual whole.
To start there is the instrumentation and the musical personalities at hand. Recorder, classical guitar, and percussion? That is unusual. And then the peopling of the instruments is special.
Marilyn Mazur has been for years a very accomplished and innovative percussionist. She shows on this recording that she is ever more resourceful and brilliant in her use of congas and all sorts of percussive instrumental possibilities. Michala Petri plays a very vibrant and contemporary kind of recorder sounding. In her hands it is an instrument of jazzy provenance, very fluid and timbrally diverse. Classical guitarist Daniel Murray plays in a fully blossomed contemporary manner that considers the rich tradition of Brazilian and jazz-oriented possibilities without being unaware an unversed in the state-of-the-art stylistic parameters of the classical guitar art per se.
Put these three together with some very ingenious and moving arrangements that allow for and sound with a Jazz-like spontaneity. The interactions of the three within the well-worked out arrangements gives us an unusual sonic depth and presence that plays out fully and meaningfully.
And then there is the repertoire, a good mix of classics and lesser-known Brazilian classics and lesser-known pieces along with a few nice Daniel Murray originals. The Brazilian derived fare includes songs and works by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Egberto Gismonti, Hermeto Pascoal, Heitor Villa-Lobos, plus Paulo Porto Alegre, Paolo Bellinati, Ernesto Nazareth, and Antonio Ribeiro. All the material has substance and the Brazilian tinge both rhythmically and otherwise.
The result spans chamber classical structure-form and Brazilian jazz heat and drive.
It is beautiful. It needs a few hearings to encompass and then you are there. That is, if you respond to it like I did. I cannot say that there is anything quite like it. Anyone who favors things Brazilian will take to it. Or even those who simply love good music.
Very recommended. A sleeper but a keeper!
This fascinating album is nominally Classical with Jazz Influences, but you could call it World Music because of the rhythm, which leans towards the Latin. It’s a quiet and reflective album.
The percussion plays varying roles in the music. Coming to the fore in places and dropping back in others. There’s a sense of fun about much of the album. It’s engrossing to watch live — and in more than one place the percussion puts us in mind of the Jungle Book, with a playful, but not too intrusive, tribal feel to it. The Jazz side is a mix of Easy Listening and the freer sound of more Upbeat Jazz.
But it’s neither of those of course. Its classical leanings give it intensity. As Our Recordings says: It’s Classical “with the seductive and ingenious and multi-layered music of Brazil”.
Producer Lars Hannibal writes in the sleeve that he wanted to combine Brazilian Rhythm with Western Classical and Jazz Music, which never normally include those rhythms. He points out that Chopin was popular in the Brazil and was incorporated into the indigenous sounds. So the harmonic origin for bossa nova was Chopin.
The musicians are Michala Petri, recorder, Marilyn Mazur, percussion and Daniel Murray, guitar. The three play the music of Antonio Jobim, Ernesto Nazareth, Egberto Gismonti and Heitor Villa-Lobos among others, as well as incorporating some of the regional sounds of Brazil.
An album of Brazilian recorder music seems unacceptably obscure, but recorder superstar Michala Petri is always a pleasure, and this little collection offers many charming moments.
Much of the music was arranged from piano pieces or music for other instruments, but there are a few recorder originals, and one work, the delightful Pingue-Pongue of Paulo Bellinati, is for any pair of instruments. The key to the album’s success is that Petri modulates the sound of her instrument to produce a artless sound that fits the folklike nature of most of the melodies here.
A few pieces call for virtuoso effects, but the focus is on Petri’s singing tone. Several of the Brazilian giants, including songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim and composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, are included. The bulk of the music is semi-popular, following in the lines of thought Villa-Lobos laid down. Percussion is added on some of the more rhythmic numbers (and most of them are rhythmic).
Sample Cauteloso by Daniel Murray, purely Brazilian despite the name, who also provides the guitar accompaniment and the arrangements. It is a classic example of the choro genre first exploited by Villa-Lobos decades earlier, just slightly expanded chromatically.
The Our Recordings engineering team achieves impressive results with the tricky recorder-and-guitar duos. Recommended.
This music is a fertile field for anyone. There should be no surprise that Ms. Petri wished to explore it. But my first reaction was, “do they have recorders in Brazil?” Indeed, they do — I turned up a major recorder artist now living in the USA, Cléa Galhano, and a recorder ensemble, Quinta Essentia, that leads me to think that Brazilian recorder music is another genre again! For now, however, we have Michala’s Brazilian Landscapes.
I can only say that this is a wonderful recording. Apart from her virtuosity on her instrument, Petri brings to her art a burning curiosity and great skill in research and — as should be obvious by now — an outstanding ability to adapt to all musics both far and near.
As has frequently been the case, she has been aided in this effort by her musical partner, guitarist Lars Hannibal, with whom she has concertised and recorded widely. It was Hannibal who met Brazilian guitarist Daniel Murray at a guitar conference in Vienna in 2014. Deeply impressed by his work as both instrumentalist and composer, Hannibal suggested matching Daniel with Michala and Danish/American percussionist Marilyn Mazur. Two years of thought, research and occasional meetings followed until, by December 2016, a program was ready to record. The result was, life everything else Michala touches, of the highest quality.
The idea was to put together a program of work by 19th, 20th and 21st century Brazilian composers built around the twin pillars of Heitor Villa-Lobos and Antonio Carlos Jobim, demonstrating their debt to Ernesto Nazareth and their influence on Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti, Paulo Bellinati, Paulo Porto Alegre and Antonio Ribeiro, as well as Daniel Murray himself who contributes two pieces.
The resulting program has both unity and diversity – but this is the nature of Brazilian music; it is a diverse tradition. The name choro could be loosely applied to this genre, but choro is, itself, under constant development, and sometimes hard to define, although Villa-Lobos defined it as “the true incarnation of Brazilian soul.” Like Ragtime in the US, Tango in Argentina and Charanga in Cuba, choro comes from the interaction of European and African influences, so we can hardly question additional input from some Danish (and Danish/American) musicians.
The main thing is that the music on this recording is captivating, charming, invigorating, multi-dimensional. The recorder-guitar combination is mainstream for this genre and works perfectly, and adding Mazur was a master stroke, giving the mix a crispiness around the edges. The Brazilian essence of these composers shines through, even as the trio adds its unique sheen.
Everything Michala Petri turns to gold. She has done it again!
It is fascinating to see and hear how three musicians from different musical camps and distinct cultures meet and make music that sounds completely integrated.
Danish recorder player Michala Petri has for more than forty years been among the foremost players in the world on her instrument – and not only in baroque music, where the recorder primarily belongs, but she has also premiered more than 150 works written for her. She has collaborated with many prominent musicians from various camps, including her former husband Lars Hannibal, guitarist, and lutenist, who is listed as executive producer for this production.
Danish/American percussionist Marilyn Mazur is also a veteran in the game, well-known from jazz festivals around the world and worked for many years with Miles Davis. Guitarist Daniel Murray is Brazilian and one generation younger than his two team-mates. He contributes three compositions of his own and he has also made the arrangements. Together they make music that is so natural, so accomplished and – yes, integrated, that one feels that there exist no boundaries for them.
They start off their joint journey through the Brazilian landscapes in the dream world of Paulo Porto Alegre. We hear etheric unaccompanied bird song before the guitar comes in, a little mysterious, the pulse sets the music in motion and off we go. In Paulo Bellinati’s lively and rhythmical Jongo we are in the midst of a religious ceremony that stems from Africa but has been incorporated into Brazilian folklore. Originally written for two guitars this is a tour-de-force for all three musicians with Marilyn Mazur’s intensive drumming heightening the temperature several degrees. Its companion piece Pingue-Pongue is a canon and here the guitar follows the recorder like a shadow – or rather as an echo. Superb music making! Antônio Carlos Jobim’s Olha Maria is harmonically thrilling with bold dissonances and a melody that is atmospheric.
Daniel Murray’s own contributions are attractive, in particular Cauteloso, the longest piece on the disc. The earliest composer here is Ernesto Nazareth, born as early as 1863 and thus contemporaneous with Richard Strauss, Sibelius, and Nielsen. He was influenced not only of Brazilian music but also European and African music and ragtime. He wrote 88 tangos, 41 waltzes, 28 polkas and a lot of other dances. He was a brilliant pianist and Fon-Fon was originally composed for piano, but here it receives a really stimulating version for recorder, guitar, and percussion: swinging, outgoing and with some flutter-tongue playing on the recorder. Egberto Gismonti’s Karatê has a riveting melody and invites virtuoso playing with marvelous interplay with recorder and guitar. A Fala de Paixão is on the other hand a calm, melodious meditation.
Hermeto Pascoal’s São Jorge is another delicious melody with rhythmic drive and improvisations, accelerating to a magnificent end. Antonio Ribeiro’s VIII Miniaturas was also composed for piano, and they are certainly miniatures, none exceeding 2 minutes’ playing time.
Villa-Lobos is, as the introduction says, the master of Brazilian classical music and his Choros are famous. Here they are played in arrangements that bring them closer to popular music – and they are attractive also in this guise. Finally, the trio returns to where it started, to Alegre and his slightly elusive dream world.
We have had a happy journey in their company and feel confident that we will return before long for a reprise journey. Readers, whose appetites have been whetted by this review, are welcome to join us.
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